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Old 10-29-2011, 09:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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California Congresswoman To Try Living Off Food Stamps Budget

California Congresswoman To Try Living Off Food Stamps Budget | Addicting Info

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In California, the food stamps program, called SNAP, provides its recipients a total of $136.75 per month per person for food. That averages out to roughly $4.50 per day. In today’s economy, about one in seven Americans live on food stamps. According to SNAP’s website, to qualify, a person must have an income of less than $908 per month. SNAP covers all raw foods, including produce, dairy, meat and packaged foods, but it does not cover food consumed onsite, hot foods, cigarettes or alcohol.
California Congresswoman, Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, will participate in a food stamps challenge in which she will eat on a food budget of $4.50 a day for five days.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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While her intentions may be good, a person needs to do it for longer to understand how it really affects them. She knows she will be able to eat what she wants after that 5 days is up. That makes a big difference.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Jackie Speier is badass, btw. Jackie Speier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In Mississippi some people on SNAP only get 58 dollars a month. I bet the overhead is tremendous.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Aliselia Aeon View Post
While her intentions may be good, a person needs to do it for longer to understand how it really affects them. She knows she will be able to eat what she wants after that 5 days is up. That makes a big difference.

She should do this for at least one month. You cannot understand being in this situation fully without living it. In fact, she should actually live for one month at what the government considers "poverty level". Start off with next to zero in the home and go from there.

It is the only way to understand the humiliation of not being able to afford so-called "non-essentials" like toilet paper and feminine products. About having to borrow deodorant and shampoo so you can get to a job interview.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I do think she means well. At least she is trying, which is more than a lot would do.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I got a whole $16 a month, and quit the program when they wanted me to fax in two bank statements to prove I had less than $5,000 in my checking account. As I have an e-statement and they wouldn't accept an email, I would have had to pay $10 to get copies from the credit union, about $5 in faxing costs and even more in gasoline. Plus, I just didn't need the humiliation.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Remember, while a month would be more realistic, considering where she is coming from, this will still be eye opening and hard for her even for a week.
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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This isn't the first time this has been done amongst politicians, and it's even a big deal with some churches, but when I read their accounts, they miss several points.

1 - They don't factor in the cost of getting the food. They probably live close to several grocery stores, probably own a car so they can make 1 trip, and they aren't counting gas against their food budget.

2 - They have a nutrition and probably calorie reserve in their bodies. They can function on poor quality food for a week if they have to because they've been eating well in the past. Long-term, a nutrition poor diet, high in fat and starches wears you down physically.

3 - They work at their desks. Try doing a job that demands any degree of physical labor -- even standing on your feet all day on a poor diet. It breaks you down.

4. And that doesn't even cover the question of a place to cook, a way to store food (not eveyone has a full sized refrigerator, and time to cook it.

After all there is a time budget too - If you have to spend an hour on the bus each way to get your groceries, that's two hours you can't do anything else.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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On this topic I'm no professional but in the last year, due to major financial changes in our own lifestyle, we've learned a lot about grocery budgeting at my house. We're not on food stamps but I'd guess we've rebudgeted food to be about what this is indicating (the $130 or so a person).

First off don't be afraid of the Dollar Stores. I had never even been to one before this past year. What we'll do is go to the Dollar General first, and pick up essentials like cereals, milk, bread, soups, canned vegetables, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, pastas, boxed dinners, etc. We can get four weeks' worth of this kind of stuff for our family of 5 with easily under $200.

Then we make the trip to the grocery store, usually every week so you got fresh stuff: fresh veggies and fruits, some meats. We have gone very light on meat, especially since even chicken and burger has skyrocketed, and gone for other choices of protein like eggs and peanut butter. Budget for this is about $300 a month.

The family has learned to live without brand names and different ideas on snacking and eating in general.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Hate to put her down but its the 'in thing' to do in congress this month

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For one week, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney and his wife lived on the equivalent of a Food Stamp budget.

The mission was to highlight how difficult it is to eat on $32 per week, or $1.59 per meal, and he documented the experience on his blog and through his Twitter account.
Congressman Lives on Food Stamp Budget for a Week | NBC Connecticut

I didn't pay much attention to it because, as others have highlighted here, its just for a week, he's got a car, probably two, a stay at home wife to shop at multiple stores, etc etc. However I will give him chops for tweeting about it and going hungry to stretch the budget. But it doesn't even come close to what people who actually need this supplement have to go through.

And on that note I think I'll make a donation to my local area food bank because I'm sitting here fat and happy, indoors, with electricity, eating a bagel and lox with a pantry full of food I didn't have to humiliate myself for or shop at three grocery stores to get.
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:03 AM   #12 (permalink)
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When they all start sending their kids to public school I will care.

It is easy to play poor for a week, even for a month, especially when you don't have an empty house. Having good spices can really make a difference in preparing food and spices are really expensive.
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Does the tax man accept food stamps?
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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eh .. my family of 3 (me, wife and 18 year old boy) eat on about 300$ a month ... we tried applying for assistance ... and were turned down because between me and my wife we make about 25$ a month over what is the max to qualify for it ...

now i am quite sure that someone going from a budget that is likely in the 1000$ + range per month down to it will be an eye opener even if just for a week (would be more realistic to do it for a month i agree) ... people who grew up on budgets that small are accustomed to it ... to the "one" meal a day sort of event that often happens ...

now if it was for a full month, and also part of the requirement is to purchase the food in the stores that are often in the same "neighborhoods" as the people who more commonly use them ... there is a HUGE selection difference between the grocery store where i live and the one i often go to that is on another side of town ...

the one on the 'low' side of the town has a larger selection of meats and frozen goods ... where as the 'high' side has a larger area for fresh fruits, veggies and similar sorts.
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Cynicism about the practicalities or usefulness of this particular endeavour aside, this woman is one of the good guys and should be celebrated and supported. She is clearly doing this for the right reasons. You need more people like her in leadership roles.
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The more people talking about it, the better.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Why can't people simply believe how difficult it is when they are told by those living it? Not enough poor people out there for you to ask? It's like some can only believe it when one of their own experiences it for a week, then tweets about it.

I know she means well but, Groan. Groan. Groan.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Why can't people simply believe how difficult it is when they are told by those living it? Not enough poor people out there for you to ask? It's like some can only believe it when one of their own experiences it for a week, then tweets about it.

I know she means well but, Groan. Groan. Groan.
it's a PR campaign, raising awareness.. and you would be shocked at how ignorant folks born lucky are as to the life of the poor.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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it's a PR campaign, raising awareness.. and you would be shocked at how ignorant folks born lucky are as to the life of the poor.

I know, but it just angers me, you know?
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:09 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Why can't people simply believe how difficult it is when they are told by those living it? Not enough poor people out there for you to ask? It's like some can only believe it when one of their own experiences it for a week, then tweets about it.

I know she means well but, Groan. Groan. Groan.
The groan shouldn't be directed at her, but at the human tendency to believe that something horrible could never happen to me, because I don't deserve it or because I'm too smart for it. It's that attitude that leads people to write off the experiences of people in need and ultimately lead to this:


That's why there have to be people who can't be written off so easily speaking out. Because people won't listen otherwise. That's the sad truth of it.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:02 PM   #21 (permalink)
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"Nothing bad could ever happen to me because I make the 'right' choices" = "please let nothing bad ever happen to me, those people must have earned it somehow".

No one is an island, and people who wind up in a position of fortune are possessed of privilege, luck, or both.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:06 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliselia Aeon View Post
While her intentions may be good, a person needs to do it for longer to understand how it really affects them. She knows she will be able to eat what she wants after that 5 days is up. That makes a big difference.
I believe Pulp said it best in Common People. "Everybody hates a tourist, especially one that thinks it's all just a laugh."
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:40 PM   #23 (permalink)
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The things politicians do for votes never ends.
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:58 PM   #24 (permalink)
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The efficiency of your food budget is also going to be affected by your schedule. If you have the capability and time to cook for yourself, you can live off a small monthly allotment, preparing raw ingredients. The working poor may not have that luxury. This was a strong factor in the thread we had about allowing fast food restaurants to take EBT too.
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:13 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I would like to see Cain try this.
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